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Title: With Or Without You
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham
Fandom: Hannibal
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: One-shot.
Disclaimer: This is entirely a product of my own imagination, and I make no profit from it. I do not own the lovely Hannibal Lecter or Will Graham, unfortunately, just borrowing them for a while. Please do not sue.


Will stood in the foyer of Hannibal's house, staring at his lover.

"What do you mean, you have to leave?" Will asked, his voice trembling. When he'd come here today, this was the last thing that he'd expected to see.

The house was dark, the windows shuttered. There were dust sheets over the furniture. The house already looked as if it had been abandoned, unlived in for years.

But Will knew that wasn't the case. Hannibal loved this house. He took care of it lovingly; he didn't hire a cleaning crew to come and take of it. He did those things himself, and what was more, he seemed to enjoy doing them, as though the house was almost his child.

Will couldn't imagine Hannibal ever wanting to leave this house. But apparently, he was leaving -- and without a word to anyone, not even the man he supposedly loved.

Hannibal heaved a sigh, shaking his head. "I had hoped that you would not come here today, Will. I had planned on stopping in Wolf Trap before I left."

A sudden rush of anger swept over Will; his words came out short and clipped.

"What were you going to do, Hannibal?" he asked, flinging his arms wide. "Just inform me that you're leaving, that the two of us are over and done, that you 'have to go'?"

Hannibal sighed again, then he shook his head slowly and gestured towards the living room. "Come and sit down, Will. Even with the dust sheets, we can still have a seat and talk like civilised people." He made his way to the living room without waiting for Will, sitting down in his usual chair.

After a moment, Will grudgingly followed him. He didn't want to, but he needed answers, and apparently sitting down and talking to Hannibal was the only way that he would get them.

He sat down in his usual chair, watching Hannibal closely.

"What were you going to tell me about leaving?" Will finally said, unable to keep the words back any longer. "Were you just going to disappear out of my life with a quick goodbye?"

Hannibal shook his head, his brow creasing in a frown. "Of course not, Will," he said, his voice soft. "I couldn't simply leave you like that. I was going to give you a choice."

"A choice?" Will couldn't believe his ears. "What kind of choice, Hannibal? I couldn't just drop everything in my life and come with you to wherever you're going. Even if it's just for a short time, which apparently it isn't given the condition of this house, I can't just leave without a backward glance."

You would have had to do that, Will," Hannibal told him, leaning forward, his gaze intent on the younger man. "And that is the choice that I am giving you now."

"What?" Will could hardly believe his ears. Surely Hannibal couldn't be serious. He had too much on his plate, too much in his life to just walk away from it without a thought.

He had the dogs, for one thing. What was he supposed to do about them? He couldn't just leave them, abandon his house and his pets; the dogs would be sent to shelters, possibly even put down. He couldn't let that happen. He had some responsibilities in his life that he couldn't simply walk away from.

But for some reason, Hannibal didn't seem to understand that. Will shook his head slowly, other thoughts crowding into his mind. It wasn't just his house and his dogs.

He had two jobs -- teaching at the FBI Academy, and working in the field with Jack's team. He loved his work. And he was close to catching the Chesapeake Ripper. He knew that in his bones.

He couldn't just leave -- even though a part of him sincerely wanted to.

He didn't even know why Hannibal was leaving -- he just knew that he couldn't simply pick up and go along. It wasn't possible. Not with all that he had in his life.

But Hannibal was an important part of that life, wasn't he? Will asked himself. How could he justify not being with his boyfriend if Hannibal had to be gone for a while? What if Hannibal found someone else, and their relationship died just when it seemed that it was going somewhere?

Will resolutely pushed those thoughts away. He had to trust Hannibal -- he had to believe that this trip, no matter how long it lasted, wouldn't be a permanent parting for them.

Slowly, he shook his head, his words coming out agonizingly slowly.

"I can't go with you, you know," Will whispered, wishing that he didn't have to say the words. "I'm sorry, Hannibal. I know you want me to, and I'd like to. But you know I can't do it."

Hannibal nodded in answer to Will's words, leaning back in his chair. "I didn't think that you would give everything up to go with me, Will. Still, I had to ask."

After a few moments of silence, Hannibal spoke again. "I have to go, Will, with or without you. This is something that I must do, and I am sorry that I cannot give you any more notice nor any more explanation than that.But rest assured that I will be back, and that my feelings for you will be as strong as they have ever been."

Will nodded, feeling a rush of relief wash over him. Hannibal wasn't leaving him for good. Hannibal would be back, and this parting wasn't going to affect their relationship.

"I thought that you'd find someone else," he blurted out before he could stop himself. "For a few minutes there, I thought that you might not even come back to me."

Hannibal shook his head, a smile curving his lips, his gazed fixed on Will.

"I would never forsake my feelings for you, Will," he said, his voice strong and firm. "And if you will still be here waiting for me, then I promise that I will come back to you."

"Of course I'll be here," Will told him, swallowing hard. "You know how I feel about you. And I wish that I could come with you. But you know it's impossible for me on such short notice."

Hannibal nodded, then sighed and got to his feet. "Yes, I thought that you would feel that way," he said, and the regret in his voice was almost palpable. "But I have to do this, Will. This is .... some unfinished business from the past that I must take care of. I cannot simply leave it hanging. Not any longer."

Will nodded, knowing that was all the information that he would get. It would have to be enough. "How long will you be gone?" He almost held his breath as he waited for Hannibal's answer.

"I don't know." The words came slowly, but as he spoke, Hannibal took two steps forward and took Will's hands in his own. "But I will come back to you as soon as I possibly can."

Will could only nod; then Hannibal's lips were on his and there were no more words.

When the kiss finally ended, Hannibal wasted no time. He got to his feet, striding toward the front door and picking up a suitcase and a carryall bag. "I must go, Will. I don't want to miss my flight."

"We'll keep in touch," Will said, feeling hollow inside. He had no idea how long this parting would last, but he wasn't going to let it destroy him. Hannibal would be back. He had said so, and Will knew that he could count on this man to keep any promise that he made with his heart.

He wasn't being abandoned. This wouldn't last forever. He just had to be patient and wait for Hannibal to take care of whatever it was that he had to do.

He had his work to keep him occupied. Maybe he'd make some progress in the case.

Outside on the porch, Hannibal turned to Will and smiled just as a taxi pulled up. "Wait for me," he said, his voice soft. "I will be back. Try not to miss me too terribly much."

With those words, he was gone, moving down the steps and getting into the cab. Will watched as it pulled away, until it was swallowed up by the distance. He already felt as though Hannibal was moving far away from him, and he had to keep himself from bolting to his car and speeding away after the cab.

No. He wouldn't do that. He would wait until Hannibal returned. That was all he could do. That was what he had said that he would do. It was the choice he had made.

With or without Hannibal, he had a life to live and work to do.

Sighing, Will turned to look at the house that loomed behind him. Silent and empty now, it felt as though everything that had animated it was gone. It was just an empty shell.

Will trudged to his car and got in, putting on his seat belt and turning the key in the ignition. Putting the car in gear, he drove away without glancing back once.